Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going?

Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going? The consensus was for the White Mountain National Forest (in the Northeast), or the Appalachian states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia. Spring Council selected a site in North Eastern Tennessee.

If you're not familiar with the gauntlet on the road into the gathering, and want to avoid a mandatory court appearance ticket click here.

For the Howdy Folks and directions to the gathering, click here. For the United States Forest Service Incident Command website with groovy maps and updates, click here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vision Council Consensus for Montana in 2013

Consensus reached @ 8:50 PM Eastern Time for Montana.

"We all celebrate that we feel the unity of the spirit and we recognize the oneness of heart as we have the desire to follow spirit calling us to beautiful Montana for the Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light in the Summer of 2013.

~~~ Please copy and share freely ~~~

I've created a blog for 2013 where I will be posting information on the 2013 annual gathering.

What I Love About Gathering

I wasn't able to make it home this year, but listening to people who were there talk about how wonderful it was or how horrible it was, make me think about why I gather.

  • I don't gather because it's full of enlightened people (as frankly I find enlightened people a bit boring). 
  • I don't gather because I want to prove how much better we are than others (because we're not and we're struggling to be kind and loving humans in the world).
  • I don't gather because we have all the answers (because we don't, but we're willing to try to make things better).

In 1994, a lot of folks I know from gatherings went to work the camping areas at the second Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. We had it pretty cush because we were camped on the hill in a private area with showers, great food and no mud.   Some earlies were getting paid to do this and lot's of us (not so earlies)  got paid to help out so it was a working vacation.

Well Woodstock Music and Arts Festivals being what they are, things went a bit wacky pretty fast.   The fences came down and no more tickets were required.  A bunch of people set up their tents by the stages instead of in the designated camping areas.  A few of us tried to explain to people that the mosh pit would be in the spot they put their tent, but very few people took us seriously.  Fantuzzi even went so far as to start carrying people's tents from the spaces in front of the stage, up the hill to the designated camping areas.  People actually looked at me with serious faces and said, "There can't be a mosh pit here cause my tent's in the way."  (Stop laughing it's totally true).  Well as you can imagine with bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus, the tents didn't last long.

By the end of day one, I think the entire thing was a mud pit, the porta potties were placed in such a way the trucks to service them couldn't get in, and there were so many people crossing the bridge to the electronica area that the railings on the bridge broke and people fell into the creek which by that point was a pee and poop drainage.   YUCK!  It's true, I witnessed it and had to help rescue people.

Yet people banded together and one out of every ten tents became a dedicated bathroom (statistics are made up but you get the point).

The day after it was over, all us happy Rainbows woke up, got our gloves and our trash bags and went to clean up the mess.  Boy where we overwhelmed.  I remember just standing there and gazing around at a huge field of mud, tents trampled into the mud, clothes strewn about and who knows what else.  Most disgusting thing I could every imagine. A total nightmare.  But we spent the day trying to clean up and scoring sleeping bags and other cool stuff in the process.

After two days of that, I had to head home.  I was taking the bus back to NYC to catch a flight home to Cali. The bus was full of people who had been at the festival.  All they talked about was how cool it was that everyone banded together, created communities, shared food with each other, and made communal crappers out of tents.  They had discovered that working together, we can create the world the way we want it to exist.  Their world views had been revolutionized.

~~ Just goes to show you that perspective is everything. ~~ 

Coming together with my family to solve common problems is what keeps me coming back to the gathering.  So to those who had a great time and those who didn't, when you see a problem start talking to other people about it, call a council, talk in a circle and figure out how YOU are going to deal with this issue.  Too much of our lives are spent in relinquishing our agency to the "authorities" and depending on other people to solve problems.  Too much of our lives are spent in looking for that cool event someone else created.  Too much of our lives are spent waiting to be alive and live.

So to my beautiful, crazy, wild and brilliant family, no one is in charge and that means everyone has to be responsible for creating the type of gathering we want to have and which makes space for the wide cross section of humans that want to gather.

The big challenge is that my ideas of a good gathering and your ideas are probably going to be different. I'm sure we can reach consensus on some things and not on others. So when we don't reach consensus we always need to be thinking of how peaceful respect can be used to allow each of us the freedom to be who we are, while create a safe and healthy gathering for all of us. To do that, we need to spend a lot of time talking to our family who have different opinions.

Working out problems is hard and I've made more mistakes than I've had successes but it's made me a stronger, more compassionate person. Folks have come up with lots of solutions over the years, some of them work out well, others not so great. The more we share our successes and failures with each other, the better solutions we can create for the future.  We're not going to solve this in our lifetime - it's a problem that has existed as long as human have. But what we can do is work on processes that help motivate people to be constructive as opposed to destructive participants. 

Freedom and the Gathering

So this brother is making a documentary about intentional communities in America, maintaining mutual respect, keeping the peace, freedom and equality. and some of the more challening issues we face in being free. It's called The Idiocratic Life   From  - http://theidiocraticlife.wordpress.com

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tri City News Covers Prayer for World Peace

Peace Circle highlights the week for those at Rainbow gathering By: Debra Mccown | Bristol Herald Courier

"The day began with silent prayer.

It was not a prayer to any one god, or of any particular religion, but an all-inclusive effort to create positive energy for world peace.

The July 4th festivities were the climax of this year’s Rainbow Family of Living Light Gathering of the Tribes, which has drawn thousands of people to the Cherokee National Forest in the past few weeks."

For the rest of the article, click here.

To Folks Worried About Loved Ones

Every year I and other folks I know are contacted by many people who are worried because they haven't heard from their loved ones in days. 

This year is a bit different than usual because their is cell phone service for some carriers from the site.  But here's some info that hopefully will help calm everyone down.

Even if your loved one has cell service at the gathering, it probably is sucking a lot of battery power to use. If someone has been on site for a few days, it is very probable that their battery is run down.  Unless your loved one planned ahead and brought a solar panel and appropriate gadgets to recharge their cell phone, there's no way to charge a phone at a gathering as there is no electricity.

People can hike out to their cars to recharge their phone, but it's a 3/4 of a mile to 2 miles from camp to the road  (depending on where you camp).  From there it could be up to a 6 or 7 mile hike on a narrow road with no sidewalk to get to where your car is parked. 

Folks on the land often recommend people stay inside the gathering instead of going to their car for the following reasons: 

Its very hot and a five to seven mile hike in 95 degree weather can be dangerous - especially to people with ongoing health issues.

Walking on the road can be dangerous and the less time you spend on the road the less likely you are to
  1. Be arrested by the cops for something silly (most common cause of problems)
  2. Waste an entire day of your gathering going to your car
  3. Getting heat stroke by hiking 10 miles in 95%, 90% humidity weather.
We have medical doctors, registered nurses and emergency medical technicians on site and providing free care. (We also have herbalists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists). Most of people's health care needs can be met on site with a modality of the patient's choosing. Should a more serious condition develop that cannot safely be treated on site, our medical team has set up communications with hospitals in the area and we will transport your loved one either directly to the hospital or to meet an ambulance if need be.

So in short, no news is good news. It means your loved one is at the gathering, having a reasonably good time and not causing anyone else a lot of grief.  If your loved one is in the gathering without access to a telephone, it means the cops have not arrested them and no one has taken them to a hospital.  They are being feed, have access to clean drinking water, and are probably having a good time.

People usually start heading out on July 5 and by July 8, 85% or more of folks have left.  If you haven't heard from your loved one by July 9, drop me an email and I'll reach out to family on the land and see what we can find out.